Okay, so this topic came up a lot in discussions with me and my peers. A lot of people say that people can only be born leaders and are just blessed with confidence from the get go. Now this is probably something that can be debated endlessly and rightfully so in another discussion. I’m not here for that right now. However, I do not consider myself someone who was ‘born’ with leadership qualities. I wasn’t ‘born’ with all the mindset, all the concepts, the confidence and pretty much the notion of having my own way of thinking and discernment (probably will address this in another post).
To have confidence, self-assurance, trust and belief in one’s self was something that, in my opinion, I had to develop over time rather than ‘being born with it’. Without beating around the bush, here are some of the things I used as building blocks to feel a lot better about myself, gain more knowledge, increase self-awareness, and move forward in life without much worry or stress.
Here are some of them:
- Reading – Probably one of the most important ones, hence why I listed this one first. Reading has so many damn benefits that aren’t very well-known, it’s not even funny. One of these benefits is that it engages your imagination. Think of your brain as a muscle. Reading books and using your imagination is a form of exercise. There’s also the fact that you’re not as dumb as you were before you read whatever book you’re reading. More knowledge always helps. Reading books definitely causes damage to one’s ignorance. I’m not talking about fiction books (although they are still good somewhat). I’m talking more about books related to your field of interest, or if none are relevant, try reading personal development and psychology books. It’s always good to try and understand better what is probably the greatest mystery of all – the self. In my case, I read a whole host of different books, from psychology, communication, leadership as well as even marketing and business. The importance of reading cannot be underscored enough. In fact, I can probably spend an entire article writing about this (it’s that important) but for now, let’s keep it at that for now.
- Audios – Similar reasons and benefits from reading, but tapping into a different quadrant of the brain now. This one is probably one of my personal favorites. Mainly because, unlike books, audios are rather hands-free and you can just listen to audio files in the background while you are doing something else. I tend to listen to audio files about personal development, seminar recordings, and even audio versions of the books I read, which are not that hard to find online. Very useful if you’re on the move a lot like I am. Even while I’m driving, walking, or even exercising, I am listening to an audio file of something that can feed my mind with something positive, motivating and educational. And yes, this means that once in a while, you will have to give up some time away from actual music. Don’t worry, I haven’t stopped listening to music or anything. But at least once a day, I play an audio in the background.
- Associations – If the first three in this list are in the shape of a triangle, this one would be one of the points. It’s just as important as the previous two, but I admit for some people, it could probably be the one that takes the most effort. I’m talking about associating yourself with people who are like-minded. Remember the whole ‘birds of the same feather flock together’ or whatever it was? That’s pretty much what I’m getting at. You make friends with idiots, you become one. You make friends with winners, guess what happens? I think you get the point. As I said, this will probably take more effort than the others since it requires you to sort out who your friends are and most probably get out of your way and make some new ones. The best place to do this is at events. Gatherings, functions, that sort of thing. You can bring a squad or go solo (like I do sometimes, especially when I land in a different country for the first time), it doesn’t matter. Try to build and establish new relationships. Fair enough there will be some people you won’t like, but the point is to at least try. You never know when you meet someone who’s interests are in line with yours.
- Health – A broad subject, yes. But I’m talking about general health. That includes diet and exercise. Not to get complicated or anything, but having good physical health has huge benefits towards your mental health as well. Eat good food (I’m not a nutritionist, so you will have to do a bit of research on what’s best for you) and exercise regularly (up to you to decide, based on your schedule and commitments, what ‘regularly’ means for you). Do anything physical. Yoga, Pilates, whatever. I tend to do weight training, sprinting and other stuff. You don’t need to go crazy and enter a bodybuilding comp. Just as long as your body actually moves instead of sitting in a cubicle at all day and on the couch all night. Again, this is probably another topic that could take an entire article of content to talk about, but for now, this is enough to chew on.
- Martial Arts – Now I didn’t include this in exercise. Why? Cause I don’t consider Martial Arts merely to be an ‘exercise for fitness’, although it can have fitness as a side benefit somehow. But why does this help gain confidence and self esteem? Put it this way – life is a battle. Learning the art of battle, in many ways, prepares you for the battle of life. Martial arts not only grants you techniques to make you feel confident, safe and secure but also gives you a discipline and mentality that prepares you for many of life’s trials. The art itself doesn’t matter as much as the instructor does. Find a good teacher. Doesn’t matter if you’re short, tall, skinny, fat, male or female, etc. You will find something that suits you and makes you feel like you can take on challenges. What else builds confidence more than the mindset to take on new challenges?
Let’s start off with these five above. I admit, they are fairly broad and I can easily expand on each one, but for now, these are the basic, general overview which you can probably find subcategories of activities relating to them. Some of these require a bit of effort and thinking but a lot of these are ridiculously simplistic and very achievable.
What methods you do recommend? Please share with me any of your experiences or recommendations when you can 🙂